[Numpy-discussion] Integers to negative integer powers, time for a decision.

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 21:12:53 EDT 2016

Hi All,

The time for NumPy 1.12.0 approaches and I like to have a final decision on
the treatment of integers to negative integer powers with the `**`
operator. The two alternatives looked to be

*Raise an error for arrays and numpy scalars, including 1 and -1 to
negative powers.*

   - Backward compatible
   - Allows common powers to be integer, e.g., arange(3)**2
   - Consistent with inplace operators
   - Fixes current wrong behavior.
   - Preserves type


   - Integer overflow
   - Computational inconvenience
   - Inconsistent with Python integers

*Always return a float *


   - Computational convenience


   - Loss of type
   - Possible backward incompatibilities
   - Not applicable to inplace operators


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